Unreal Nature

January 22, 2020

My Capacity

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:04 am

… an aesthetics of existence, a style or art of living, a manner of making one’s life into a work of art …

Continuing through The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism by Elizabeth Grosz (2017):

… The question of ethics is how can I be worthy of the events that await me, how can I enter into events that sweep me up, preexist me, or that I cannot control? How can I be worthy of my destiny? How can what is impersonal in me be worthy of its impersonal fate?

… It is because of the sense that is mixed with events that thought is possible, that concepts can be created and conceptual means developed by which we can modify our behavior and environment, survive circumstances beyond our control, and create new orders by which to survive the chaos, the excess of forces, into which we are born. Thinking is thus ethics, one form of ethics (thinking is a form of action that accompanies material action), one mode of directing life in its ability to live up to what happens to it, to be worthy of what occurs, to prepare internally for what externally awaits, and to be impinged upon from the outside to draw out what is most active within.

… Ethics is not so much about living a “good life” (one cannot know a “good life” until it is lived, and living a good life does not require knowing it) as it is about facing what we cannot control and living — or dying — in the process of willing what we cannot control, willing the even without ressentiment, affirming the events with which one is bound. My birth, my death, the bad accidents and moments of good luck that occur to me — ethics is my capacity to affirm, enhance, and intensify them.

[line break added] Ethics represents my capacity to affect and be affected, the enhancement or diminution of my power to act, including my power to think. The greatest affirmation of freedom is the affirmation of the necessities that make me what I am (those both outside and inside me).

… Ethics is thus linked to a life, to every life, and every encounter that shapes, forms, interacts, and transforms the becomings that constitute a life. It is also linked, in a fundamental way, to aesthetics, an aesthetics of existence, a style or art of living, a manner of making one’s life into a work of art, an aesthetics without need of an external object.

My most recent previous post from Grosz’s book is here.

-Julie

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